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Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016: No. 10 Tully eliminates No. 3 Weedsport boys

   Leading off today: We're at the point of the basketball season at which it's no longer a surprise when a ranked team loses. But we're not yet at the point where we expect to see top-five squads fall.

   But maybe we should be. Followers of red-hot Tully saw once such instance coming before it happened Saturday in the Section 3 boys tournament.

   The Black Knights, ranked 10th in the state in Class C by the New York State Sportswriters Association, rolled to a 70-55 victory over top-seeded and third-ranked Weedsport in the semifinals at Onondaga Community College.

   Jon Lippert led Tully with 18 points as the Black Nights won their 10th straight game. Jason Phelps added 16 points and Drew McNerney scored 14.

   Tully led 51-30 midway through the third quarter, but the Warriors pulled to within 51-43 to start the fourth quarter, a burst snapped by a Lippert 3-pointer.

   Zzzzzzzzz: Bob Chavez of The Daily Messenger had the misfortune of covering Section 5's Class C and D indoor track championships Wednesday -- and into the wee hours of Thursday -- and wrote about it, rightly noting that going past midnight to start races is probably unavoidable when you have to start meets after 6 p.m.

   I stopped by Rochester Institute of Technology midway through the Class A and B meet the following night and strongly suspect they also finished awfully late, a fate I endured more than a few times in my days on the beat.

   One of the joys of being a civilian Thursday night was that I got to visit with a murder's row of coaches who were so helpful to me back in my days with the Democrat and Chronicle 30 years ago.

   Remembering a great: Josh Thomson at The Journal News did a nice job capturing a special moment as a family came together two days before Joe McGuinness' death. The longtime coach and Albertus Magnus athletic director died Feb. 12, but not before pulling together much of the extended family to trek to younger son Conor's game at Adelphi two days earlier.

   Thomson also captured other great details. including a phone call from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to pay his respects and how Jeff Brown, the Middlebury College coach, left his team and spent several days mourning the loss of his old Clarkstown South teammate.

   Remembering a great: Section 9 football power Monroe-Woodbury faces a tough process in finding a new head coach, The Times Herald-Record reported this week.

   The district generally posts official openings for coaching and teaching positions in the spring, Jim Hintze, with the program since 1987, and offensive coordinator Pat D'Aliso (a longtime head coach previously) stepped down in January. Bernie Connolly, who joined the program in 1988 and became head coach in 2012 before retiring from coaching after the 2014 season, has said he would only

serve as an assistant coach if he came back.

   Defensive coordinator Matt McCullagh said he only knows of himself and Jordan Bari, a defensive assistant, returning from last year's seven-coach staff. McCullagh, 29, wants to stay in his current role next season.

   "We only got a handful of applicants," Eric Hassler, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, told the paper. "Not that the applicants were bad -- they were good applicants -- but we just want to make sure we're casting the biggest net that we can."

   M-W has at least one vacancy on the physical education staff and the likelihood of more teaching openings this spring, which opens the door to more outside applicants. Hassler said the administration wants somebody with scholastic football coaching experience.

   Football rules revision: Clipping will be illegal anywhere on the field in 2016 after the football rules committee for the National Federation of State High School Associations removed the rule that kept clipping permissible in the free-blocking zone.

   Blocking in the back or the back of the leg had been OK in the rectangular area extending laterally four yards either side of the spot of the snap and three yards before and beyond the line of scrimmage.    The rules committee also voted last month to allow tooth and mouth protectors to be completely clear or completely white.

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